Crop & Pest Report


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Mystery Insect (6/04/20)

This moth was found during field scouting last week. Do you know what it is?

This moth was found during field scouting last week. Do you know what it is?


This is the Cecropia moth, Hyalophora cecropia, and belongs to the family Saturniidae (giant silk moths). Cecropia moths are the largest native moth in North America with a wingspan of 5-7 inches. The spots on the wings look like ‘eyes’ to scare predators like birds. What does it eat? The moth stage is non-feeding. Its main purpose is to reproduce, and females lay up to 100 eggs. Cecropia moths are short-lived, only about 2-3 weeks. However, the immature stage (larva or caterpillar) feeds on the leaves of many trees and shrubs - ash, birch, boxelder, elm, maple, poplar, wild cherry, plum, willow, apple and lilac. It is generally not a pest, but considered a beautiful moth! Children enjoy rearing the caterpillar into a moth as a ‘pet’ project to enhance their understanding of nature and insects!


Janet J. Knodel

Extension Entomologist

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